Initial Quality in Malaysia Advances for Fourth Straight Year

Malaysia, PenangFor a fourth consecutive year, overall new-vehicle initial quality in Malaysia improves significantly, according to the 2013 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS), based on responses from more than 3,100 new-vehicle buyers during the first two to six months of ownership.*

The 2013 Malaysia IQS findings are encouraging because the automotive market in Malaysia is becoming increasingly competitive with a rising number of new models, which makes it essential for brands to produce high-quality cars and trucks. Continue reading ›

Thorough Explanations Enhance After-Sales Service Satisfaction in Vietnam

Vietnam01New-vehicle owners in Vietnam prefer to have the type and scope of maintenance or repair work explained prior to their service visit and after the work is completed at the dealer or authorized service center, according to our 2013 Vietnam Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. When a service advisor provides explanations at the beginning and completion of work, satisfaction improves significantly—by 24 points (on a 1,000-point scale). Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction Up in Vietnam Market; Test Drive Can Make a Difference

Traffic on Vietnamese StreetOverall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience at the dealership has improved by 4 points in 2013 to an average 850 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 846 points in 2012, according to our 2013 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, even with this year’s higher satisfaction score, the study finds areas where dealers can improve sales satisfaction, including offering customers a test drive and spending more time with the buyer during the delivery process.

Offering a test drive—which averages 17 minutes in 2013, compared with 19 minutes in 2012 and 21 minutes in 2011—to new-vehicle buyers who visit a dealership in Vietnam can increase customer satisfaction with the sales process, the study finds. Slightly more than one-third (36%) of buyers actually test drive a vehicle. Continue reading ›

Service Customers in Taiwan Expect Cost Estimate and Follow-Up

Taipei, Taiwan.Overall customer satisfaction with the service experience among vehicle owners in Taiwan who visited their dealership or service center improves by 26 points from 2012, to 873 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to our 2013 Taiwan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.*

Study findings indicate that when customers in Taiwan drop off their vehicle for service at the dealership, they expect an estimate of charges and when work is completed, they want an explanation of the charges for service.

In 2013, satisfaction improves in each of the five factors measured with a significant advance of 27 points for vehicle pickup followed by 26-point improvements in each of these three factors: service initiation, service advisor, and service facility. Continue reading ›

Sales Growth in the Philippines May Hinder New-Vehicle Sales Satisfaction

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

Despite the positive news of strong first-half new-vehicle sales gains in the Philippines—one of Southeast Asia’s smaller automotive markets—overall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience has declined by nine points from 2012, to 846 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to the 2013 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.

All factors measured in the study post lower index scores than in 2012 with the most notable dip being in the salesperson factor. Continue reading ›

New-Vehicle Buyers in Thailand are More Informed Before Showroom Visits

Traffic on Thai StreetNew-vehicle buyers in Thailand use an average of three sources to gather information before visiting a dealership—up from an average of 2.5 sources in 2012, according to the 2013 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. A larger percentage of Thai new-car buyers also use the Internet (45%) than in the previous year (33%).

A few more highlights from this year’s study:

• Overall sales satisfaction averages 904 (on a 1,000-point scale), a 4-point improvement from 2012. Continue reading ›

After-Sale Service Satisfaction Rises in Indonesia; Ford Ranks Highest in CSI

Road in Jakarta, IndonesiaOverall customer satisfaction with the after-sale service experience in Indonesia improves by 15 points from 2012, to an average of 755 (based on a 1,000-point scale), according to the 2013 Indonesia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. The largest advances come in two of five factors* evaluated—satisfaction with service initiation and service advisor.

The improvement in after-sale service satisfaction is noteworthy as there has been sales growth in the country during the past few years, which makes it critical to continue to manage customer expectations. Light-vehicle deliveries in 2013 are expected to increase by about 10% (to 1.1 million units) from 2012, based on a forecast from strategic partner LMC Automotive. Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction in Taiwan Remains Flat Even with Market Inducements

TaipeiWEBA majority (85%) of new-vehicle buyers in Taiwan indicated that they received discounts on price, and a higher percentage of buyers also received free accessories and extended warranties from their selling dealer this year compared with 2012, according to our 2013 Taiwan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. At the same time, sales satisfaction in 2013 averages 890 points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from 2012.

Inducements appear to be more popular this year as new-vehicle sales declined during the first half of the year, mostly driven by an uncertain economic climate, which caused customers to defer their purchase and wait for price cuts and possible government incentives. This year, satisfaction with the deal, one of the seven factors* contributing to satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase and delivery experience that are examined in this study, has increased the most—up 12 points from 2012. Continue reading ›

Who is the Winner? EVs or Flex-Fuel Vehicles and Biofuel?

bangkok-thailandIn looking at the future of alternative fuel vehicles—principally electric vehicles (EVs)—in the Thai market, it appears that the only push for promoting EVs is coming from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). In fact, the only comprehensive study on EV use in Thailand has been conducted by EGAT, which suggests that shifting electricity generation at power plants for use in electric vehicles would improve plant efficiency. However, can this alone be the driving force for consumers to move to purchasing EVs? The answer is an emphatic ‘No.’

Thailand’s Future Energy Plans Focus on Biofuel

A major obstacle in transitioning to EV use in Thailand comes in the form of the government’s Alternative Energy Development Plan (2008‐2023), which clearly shows that planned energy output to serve the transport sector for the next decade will be provided by biofuels, not electricity.

Thailand has an abundant supply of sugar cane, which can be processed into ethanol. Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel made by distilling and fermenting crops, such as sugar cane, and more experimental sources such as cassava and molasses. Continue reading ›

Hybrid Vehicles Face a Bumpy Road in Southeast Asia

bangkok-thailandThree years ago, Toyota Group began producing and selling the first hybrid model—a Camry—in Thailand. Since then, sales of hybrid cars in that country have grown significantly. In 2012, hybrid sales in Thailand were 19,000 units. Sales of hybrids in Thailand have been growing at an average rate of almost 60% during this time frame. Now, there are at least four hybrid models being sold in the Thai market, and this year hybrid vehicle sales are projected to surpass 20,000 units.

Despite strong and stable growth, a volume of 20,000 unit sales is miniscule in a country where projected sales volume in 2013 is 1.2 million light vehicles. The hybrid vehicle sector accounts for only a 1% share of the entire domestic market (3% of passenger-vehicle volumes). This is very small compared with an 18% hybrid share in Japan, the home market of the key OEMs that have sales operations in Thailand. To be fair, the ratio of hybrid vehicles in Malaysia, a key competitor for regional production of hybrids, amounted to just 2%, or sales of 15,000 units, last year.

Currently, we expect the market share of hybrid cars in Thailand to be under 5% for the foreseeable future. Our projection for hybrid sales in 2020 is slightly over 30,000. In comparison, hybrid vehicle sales in Malaysia are likely to nearly reach 50,000 units by 2020, and will account for almost 10% of that country’s passenger-vehicle market. Continue reading ›